Sunday Toughie 24 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Sunday Toughie 24 (Hints)

Sunday Toughie No 24 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by Sloop John Bee

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Not as brain mangling as some Sunday Toughies but still a definite toughie. I may have not got some of my parsings 100% but somewhat distracted by Mama Bee’s first cataract op. Refreshment last night was Staropramen and Laphroaig, this morning it is Guatemalan Red de Mujeres, organic coffee with notes of raspberry, toasted almonds and toffee.

Here goes with 15 of 30 clues hinted, I hope you find enough checkers to help you.

As it is a Prize puzzle I can only hint at a few and hope that will give you the checkers and inspiration to go further. I’ll be back just after the closing date with the full blog. Don’t forget to follow BD’s instructions in RED at the bottom of the hints!

I hope I don’t have to redact any comments but I am new at this and don’t want to rock the boat. If in doubt, I’ll rub it out! I think that sentence is a bit redundant. You have all been so helpful in sorting out prior failures of parsing and I am sure I will need similar help again.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also” Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions. Some hints follow: Remember the site rules and play nicely.


Appealing about e.g. gun running in conflict (10)
One of crossword’s numerous about’s, and a weapon of which gun is an example, go into a synonym of attractive.

9a Lacking will to cross river the American way? (10)
The condition of dying without a will and an abbreviation for river become the American way of driving long distances.

15a Feature absorbing work for keyboard whizz (6)
A facial feature around some work.

17a Protest number arrive unannounced at home and end with partying (6,2,3,4)
How many crosswords must a man solve before he is done, The answer my friend is…


18a Guarantee result, bagging runs before the end (6)
A synonym of result, to follow or come after, bags a crickety run to become a guarantee.

21a Make invalid appetiser with no filling like a bagel? (7)
The shape of a bagel comes from a synonym of make invalid and the outer letters of AppetiseR

27a Went out across what dry ground that’s arid? (10)
A synonym of went out on a romantic liaison perhaps, contains a two letter interjection for what! and an anagram of dry.

Drought, Dry, Dehydrated, Desert, Nature, Landscape



1d Wear out racket receiving ball (2,2)
A noise contains a letter that looks like a ball.

2d Child number three in group number eight (4)
A group and the eighth letter of the alphabet become the third child of Adam and Eve.

Seth Armstrong.jpg

4d Many duos arranged entertaining operas in Lenten time (9,6)
An anagram of Many duos goes around a series of operas. How entertaining these operas are, depend on your tolerance of 15 hours of fat ladies singing. The fourth Sunday in Lent when Christians have historically visited the church where they were baptised.

7d Energy-guzzling vehicle by softly undulating Welsh town (10)
A motor vehicle contains an abbreviation of energy followed by the musical annotation for softly and some undulations. How do you eat an angry Welsh cheese?

11d I emptied champagne cup, without right means to overcome shyness (10)
I from the clue, the outer letters of ChampagnE and a cup surrounds (without) R for right

Yamal, a nuclear powered icebreaker

12d Make fast touring time, with seconds left racing (10)
To make fast a boat at a dock, around T for time, S for seconds and a nautical left. A fast pastime involving mechanical assistance.

14d Expert eating meal up with Dover’s last magistrate (7)
An expert contains the reversal of an afternoon meal and the terminal letter of Dover. become a Roman magistrate who ranks below a consul.

20d It’s used fencing edges of Ravenna dock (6)
The edges of RavennA and another nautical dock become a “tool” used in fencing.



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The afternoon meal you need for 14d and a lovely piece of music.

17 comments on “Sunday Toughie 24 (Hints)

  1. A gentler Toughie than we usually get from Robyn – thanks to him and to SJB.
    I noticed four different clues requiring the insertion of an R, but all clued with different words to provide the abbreviation.
    My ticks went to 9a, 3d and 12d.

  2. Another brilliant Robyn tour de force, indeed, which I did manage to finish with a bit of electronic help (the online gift of 5 letters). I came so close on my own but 1a & 3d just wouldn’t yield their magic to me (and 3d just doesn’t quite pass muster over here). As a Wagnerian, loved 4d of course and I was pleased that I remembered ‘Dover’s last magistrate’ at 14d, but the entire puzzle was just splendid. Thanks to SJB and Robyn.

    1. Another school day for me – I’ve always assumed that 3d was an American expression!

      1. I think that it was an American expression too, but the Cockney shock is a bit of a stretch. As was the pic I chose to illustrate 2d

        1. Never heard it anywhere in this country, even though something like the BRB might say it’s American. What is common is ‘the A/C’ pronounced just like that: A C.

    2. Dover’s last magistrate? I thought the r in Dover was part of the wordplay, as SJB pointed out. Have I missed something?

      1. No you have got it spot on, Dover’s last is the wordplay, and one of the four ways of clueing R, as Gazza refers to in comment 1. I think Robert was being enigmatic. I suppose Dover may have had a 14d back when it was known as Dubris.
        Roman Dover, the British port closest to the rest of the Roman Empire was a thriving town, thought to have covered at least a five hectare area along the Dour valley. The Romans called the town DUBRIS after DUBRAS, the British name meaning ‘waters’

        1. No, I was merely quoting from the clue! I knew that the R in Dover was a key element in the spelling of the definition. Enigmatic maybe but I certainly wasn’t referring to Roman Dover. What do I know of Roman Dover anyway?!

  3. That’s the trouble with Cockney clues, you never know if they are looking for the dropped aitch or the rhyming slang. I was trying to justify Barnet for the Cockney shock until the penny dropped. I had most trouble with 27a. I got the answer ok but the parsing needed help.
    Well done ********🎾 (self deleted – some may be planning on watching the tennis later)

  4. I rarely alight on this setter’s wavelength which invariably makes for a long, hard slog to fill the grid with little respite for enjoyment. Having said that, I did find a few to smile about today and my top three were 9&22a plus 23d.

    Thanks for the exercise, Robyn, and thanks to JB for the preview of the review! I do hope Mama Bee is feeling the benefit from her op?

    1. Everything seems to be progressing well. She hates having the eye drops in but her vision is showing signs of improvement. Hopefully we will get the second eye done in a month.

      1. I was amazed by my cataract op. 100% clarity 10 minutes after going through the doors of doom. 5 years ago. Now been told the other one’s going to need doing. No worries about that. Best thing was my golf improved!

  5. Great crossword from Robyn, and proximal has definitely want a rest after the last few weeks. My favourite was 17a. Thanks all

  6. I just wrote a long screed and my brother rang me in face time and I lost the lot. Great puzzle, thanks to Robyn and SJB. I liked 15a. What a great men’s final, so exciting.

  7. An enjoyable, not too difficult, but definitely a Toughie, Sunday or otherwise

    I too notice the R thing Gazza mentions above

    Thanks very much to Robyn and SJB

  8. Having completed all except 1a and 2d on Sunday, I returned to staring blankly at this puzzle over breakfast this morning. I finally admitted defeat and turned to SJB’s hints to put my mind at rest. The hint for 1a kept me perplexed for a bit longer, and I suspect that it is not ‘one of crossword’s numerous abouts’ contained in the wordplay, but a synonym for ‘running’? :scratch:
    Thanks, Robyn, for a crossword that I enjoyed despite being stymied at the end. My favourites of the clues that I did manage to solve were 9a, 17a and 25a. And my thanks to SJB for dragging me over the line.

    1. You are correct, I missed that in the early hours of Sunday. About refers to the fact that the attractive person surrounds the rest of the wordplay.

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